I am one lucky girl! This is the 3rd year in a row, where I have sailed the South of France with a group of my closest friends on a 30 metre motor yacht. In fact, I think this summer holiday trip has now become a yearly event that my friends and I count down to – until we can do it all over again! If you ever get a chance to experience a holiday on a boat, make sure you jump at the chance to do it. There is something magical about being out on the water and waking up to a beautiful new location every day. I love it!
My friends and I fly into Nice and promptly organise a car to take us down to Cannes, only a 30-45min ride. We have to wait until the next day to board the boat, so with my many Marriott Rewards points (I have accrued a lot this year!) I book a night at the JW Marriott Cannes. Finally the time comes the next morning for us to head to our home away from home, Quid Pro Quo.
Once on the boat we head over to St Marguerite Island for lunch at La Guerite. This is one of our favourites! It has great food and a casual beachside ambience, with a beautiful view of the sea. To get there you take a quick 15 minute ferry ride from Cannes (details here) or go by private boat and anchor nearby. Once anchored, there is a tender that collects you from your boat and takes you over to the restaurant. There are also great walking trails around the island and a Fort that includes a Maritime Museum. This is also the island made famous by the Man in the Iron Mask, who was kept prisoner here during the time of Louis XIV.
When you arrive by tender, the first thing you see is the sign below. With all these troubles so far away, this is definitely my kind of Island!
I love the presentation of their vegetable and fruit crudite to start our lunch with. The basket is huge and everything in it so fresh.
We enjoy a beautiful lunch of fresh seafood, vegetables, salads and fresh lemonade with mint. Getting to see the freshly caught fish before it is prepared is a highlight!
Next to St Marguerite Island is a smaller island called St Honorat. We went last time and it is also well worth a visit as well. You can see the vineyards and purchase wine produced by the monks of Lerins Abbey who live on the island. They also grow lavender and create their own range of beautiful lavender products. There is also a restaurant here and walking trails around the island.
After lunch we head back to our boat and sail to Antibes, a coastal town in between Cannes and Nice. As soon as we arrive at the port we go to the local market and pick up delicious olive tapenade and other amazing fresh local produce.
At the markets we also find French lavender products such as fresh lavender, dried lavender, lavender oils and soaps. The smell of these are amazing! I can never have enough lavender, its one of my favourite scents.
It is easy to aimlessly wander through all the small streets here in Antibes and find cute little shops, cafes and restaurants.
We spend the night here at the port and our onboard chef prepares a beautiful dinner (one of many) for us on the boat.
The next day we sail to Pampelonne Beach to have lunch at Le Club 55. Another favourite of ours where we enjoy fresh grilled seafood, salads and the odd rose wine or two, or perhaps three! This place is ALWAYS busy but fun to go to where you can enjoy great food and people watch. They also do a great fresh vegetable crudite platter and another popular item on the menu is the Steamed Artichoke. You just have to pull away at each leaf of the artichoke and scrape the soft part away with your teeth. Easy!
After lunch we head back to our boat by tender…it’s out there somewhere! It’s clearly been a busy day at Pampelonne Beach!
After enjoying a swim at Pampelonne we make our way to St Tropez. I enjoy fresh muddled lime in sparkling water to hydrate just before we reach the port, a perfect example of how something so simple can be so refreshing! We get super lucky with 2 nights berthing in St Tropez. It is only a small port and as you can see below all the boats are squeezed in tight.
Once in St Tropez we wander the pretty little streets that are dotted with boutique shops. I particularly love the Dior store and restaurant along the Place des Lices. So beautiful!
Our first night in St Tropez we go to Brasserie de Arts to experience a beautiful dinner with party afterwards. It’s a really fun place to go with a big group and we all end up having a big night! Oops! Feeling sore the next day, we sail out to the opposite side of St Tropez to enjoy a delicious seafood lunch onboard the boat, as well as more swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking.
After we leave St Tropez our next stop is Cap Ferrat. We always love coming here as it’s a perfect place to anchor and spend the day swimming. Today we plan to go up to the beautiful Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat (Four Seasons Hotel) for lunch at Michelin-starred chef Didier Aniès Le Cap restaurant. I would have to say this is probably the most beautiful hotel I have ever visited. It is absolutely gorgeous! My pictures just do not do it enough justice!
I could have easily wandered the gardens all day. The grounds of this hotel are stunning!
We drive back down to the Cap Ferrat port and take the tender back out to the boat. We spend a lovely afternoon sunbathing, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and drinking freshly made smoothies. Probably one of my favourite parts to this holiday is the oportunity to jump into the beautiful and refreshing sea every day!
We spend the night in Cap Ferrat and wake up the next morning in Portofino, Italy! This my first time and one of the prettiest ports I have been to! We spend the day walking around the town and shopping.
That night for dinner we go to Hotel Spendido, a grand old Italian hotel, a 10 minute drive away. Before dinner we sit out on the restaurant terrace enjoying a pre-dinner drink, with this stunning view in the background.
The next morning we are off to Monaco. After all the quaint little ports we have visited, Monaco is a big city with tall modern structures and buildings. That particular day we arrive into Monaco is unbelievably hot! Actually that whole week we were in the South of France, a heat wave was passing through Europe. So I didn’t venture out as I would normally would but instead relaxed on the boat before heading off to dinner. However, the last time we were here we walked up to where the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is located, which has the most amazing views of the city. And further onwards through the little cobblestone streets is the Princes Palace of Monaco. On our last night in Monaco we go to Cipriani, where we enjoy our last dinner of the trip.
The next morning we leave Monaco and head back towards Cannes. We anchor once again off the Island of St Marguerite. My friend Renee and I have our last breakfast on the boat, while enjoying the beautiful seaview. We don’t want to leave! But our flight back to Dubai is not too far away so our bags are loaded into the tender, and we say our final goodbyes.
Like I said earlier if you ever get a chance to have a boat holiday, jump at it! It is one of my favourite ways to holiday and when you do it with an amazing group of friends like I did, you are guaranteed the most unforgettable time!
A huge grateful thanks goes out to my friends Natalie and Khalifa who made this possible! So what date are we going next year guys?! Renee, thank you for being the best roommate a girl on a boat can have. After 36 hours of travel all the way from Sydney, I am so happy you made it Cat! Eleasha, you have me in laughs every time, no holiday is the same without you! Liz (aka Classy Lady) and Dawoo, it’s always a pleasure to enjoy our holidays in the med together. Until next year!